Hey! I'm back. Five years seems like a long time to be away, but if you are a tree then it's equivalent to maybe three nano seconds. Hi. I've just returned from my internship as a tree.
Sure. Yup. I was barely gone. Only three cosmic nano seconds.
Supernatural, one of my favorite shows on the telly box, ended last night. This is my thank you to the show. It's long and personal and mushy as feck.
The show meant a lot to me. Here's a monkey pic to lure you in.
Did it work? Hmmm? Keep scrolling!
The Road So Far
Supernatural has come to its inevitable conclusion after 15 seasons, and I'm not ready for it, inertia and entropy be damned!
It's the morning after the finale and I admit that I was up past midnight, ugly crying, giving in to the sadness and finality of the end. I started this piece months ago, intending to watch the finale, add my last thoughts, and then write the final two words: The End.
I don't want to. In fact I'm tearing up again as I type.
I'm no Carver Edlund, Chuck Shurley, Metatron, or God (or Ben Edlund, Andrew Dabb, Erick Kripke, or Robert Singer for that matter), but I am just a writer who loved a show about two brothers and redemption. Unlike Chuck/God, I never wanted it to end.
It did end last night, beautifully in my opinion, and just the way it was meant to.
The hardest part about loving something is when it's time for that something to end. It's a piece of the cosmic design that the culmination of significant moments give way to the next thing, that it evolve and rise from the ashes as something new. We move on. We begin again. However, I need time to lovingly wrap Supernatural in its shroud, raise the pyre, and give it the Hunter's funeral that it deserves.
I ask what will rise from the ashes?
I've been a fan of the show since the first episode, "Pilot" on September 13, 2005. I was a new mother, my eldest was born July 13, 2005, and it was an arduous start to my role. Besides a pregnancy fraught with one difficulty after the next, I had postpartum preeclampsia that kept me bedridden for an extra two plus weeks after delivery. I had this life, outside of my body now, a whole, entirely new, little human with me 24/7, and I was sick pretty much around the clock. Sleep wasn't an option because my little human had vicious acid reflux and wanted to nurse every moment of our shared existence. It was a cycle of scream, vomit, nurse, vomit, scream, nurse, nap, scream, nurse...you get the picture. All I could do was try to soothe his wee tummy and ride out the acclimation period to his new reflux meds, all while confined to my bed.
Lots of emotions and fears rattled around in my brain hole during that recovery. Would I break the cycle or repeat the mistakes made in my own childhood? The pregnancy was a gift after miscarriages and other twists and turns on an emotional rollercoaster. To put it bluntly, I was freaking out. Vivid nightmares, crippling self-doubt, and an overactive horror writer's brain trapped in my sleep deprived skull.
I started writing again and in three weeks I put 35,000 handwritten words into a notebook; those were the bones of Marker of Faith. Horror was finding its way from my subconscious to the living, breathing world.
By the end of August I was off bed rest but restless nonetheless. I read about this new show coming to the WB, Supernatural, and for me it checked all of the boxes.
Growing up I used to escape into books and tv shows as a way to partition off sections of my brain, silence the real world around me, find a moment of light that would carry me when the darkness closed in. Pretty deep, eh? TV would surely save me now.
There I was, nestled in with my husband on the couch to watch the new show, my two month old baby in the neglect-o-matic -- an hilarious nickname for the Papasan rocking chair where I would lay down my precious bundle so I could have a bit of time away from being a milk cow.
D, that husband I mentioned, does not like horror. The moment Mary Winchester was pinned to the ceiling and she burst into flame, D stood up and said, "I'm out!"
I was hooked.
"Dad's on a hunting trip and he hasn't been home in a few days."
Two brothers fighting the monster of the week, just the Winchesters against the world, road tripping their way through dysfunctional family and things that go bump in the night.
"Saving people, hunting things...the family business."
The chemistry between Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki was perfect; Hope and Crosby, Martin and Lewis, Riggs and Murtaugh...Kolchak of Night Stalker and The Hardy Boys. Hahaha.
I never missed an episode; if I didn't watch it live I always caught it on my DVR the next morning or hijacked wifi in a random parking lot while on holiday so I could see the episode on the website. I literally planned trips/parties/labor and delivery around finales and episode arcs so I could watch or have immediate access to a decent telly for the show.
"Driver picks the music, Shotgun shuts his cake hole."
In 2007 I started writing my second novel, Mostly Dead Melvin, during the break between the season two finale, All Hell Breaks Loose part 2 on May 17, 2007, and the season three premiere, The Magnificent Seven on October 4, 2007.
Fifteen years is a long time to follow a show. The characters became as familiar as family. We met and loved, or loved to hate Dean, Sam, their father John, Bobby, Ellen and Jo, then Castiel, and Crowley. I loved Bella, Rowena, Rufus, Garth, the wonderful menagerie of angels and demons like Zachariah, Abadon, Ruby, Lilith, Meg and her eventual redemption, Cain, Lucifer, Death, the reapers, and of course Chuck, Metatron, and Loki/Gabriel. Mary and Jack. Missouri Mosely. We also can't forget the Ghostfacers, nor Kevin and Kevin's mom, Leonardo, and finally The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo - Charlie.
I love Dean Winchester. Of course he's very easy on the eyes, but his character and character development aged very well over the 15 seasons. It resonates within me: the hero complex, the self-sacrifice, the blind loyalty to a parent who doesn't love you back. I always saw a little of myself in Dean, and maybe a little of Dean in me (heh! That's what she said.). Sorry, not sorry.
I know it's arrogant to automatically identify with the hero of the story, but his character arc in many ways mirrors that secret self I see when I close my eyes. That feeling of no matter how cool people may think you are, you know deep inside that you aren't good enough, that you'll never live up to parental expectations, that your humor, your habits, your impulses are all tools in your toolbox you used to get through your childhood and still use in adulthood. When you find a friend, a true friend, you make them family and are loyal beyond reason, and betrayal cuts deeper than any knife. You are used to betrayal so you pick yourself up and keep going, no matter what. You love deeply, you hurt deeply, you will do whatever you must to keep your family safe and happy, even sacrifice yourself if need be. Because that's what you do.
That went dark quickly!
Supernatural became my weekly escape, my happy place, a mirror in which I could face my very own monster of the week. I was part of something special with my love of this show that not many other people watched for the first few seasons. I'd mention it to friends and acquaintances, but no one knew about it. Of course that changed around season four, but it just meant that I had more people with whom I could chat about Supernatural. I brought a lot of my friends to the show.
My second child was born on January 26, 2010. I remember being so happy that the birthing suite had a nice television so that I could watch Season 5, episode 12, Swap Meat on January 28, 2010, two days after she was born. It was an amusing episode about a body switch with nerdy 17-year-old Gary and Sam.
"I lost my shoe."
There was so much humor threaded throughout the seasons, little inside jokes, nods to the fans, and genuine dark comedy that fit so well. Episodes like Yellow Fever, Bad day at Black Rock, Mystery Spot, The French Mistake, Changing Channels, and all of the episodes featuring The Ghostfacers are some of my absolute favorites. Every season had a gem! Dean's love of pie, Sam's fear of clowns, Sam's childhood imaginary friend Sully, so many details built into the entire arc of the series. I'm sure that I could have a complete conversation with another Supernatural fan using only quotes from the show. Pudding! That still makes me smile.
Out of 327 episodes and the one-hour retrospective, there was only one that got a bit of a serious sneer from me. Season 4, episode 67, It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester. The villain was a god named Samhain, pronounced Sam Hain. Really? REALLY? I forgave them.
In season 10 on November 11, 2014, the 200th episode, Fan Fiction, showed us how much the writers and actors really loved the show. The musical Supernatural production was about as good as it gets.
With every season, with every new arc of world building and mythos, my love for the show deepened. Sure, Kripke borrowed quite a lot from Constantine, Good Omens, Wynona Earp, Milton, but it felt more like an homage rather than theft.
As a witch myself I should have been offended by the portrayal of witches in the series, but Rowena Macleod made everything wonderful. Ruth Connell made that character have a soul.
"I don't understand that reference."
Castiel will always have a place in my heart. Misha Collins absolutely imbued the character with depth and soul and dry humor. The Angel of Thursday's story had a happy ending.
Meg, your Clarence got his wings.
I absolutely adore Fergus Macleod aka Crowley and how he became such an integral member of the cast and story lines. I cried when he sacrificed himself for the boys. Mark Sheppard is Crowley and always will be.
Mark Pellegrino's Lucifer was some of the best casting on the show. He was perfect, absolutely perfect.
I was ambivalent about bringing Mary's character back from the dead, but I realized it was necessary for Dean's character development.
I always hoped that they would find a way to bring back Loki/Gabriel.
"Family don't end with blood, boy."
Bobby Singer was the heart of the show. Jim Beaver's curmudgeonly, "Balls!" and "Idjit," are now permanently etched in pop culture.
I must give a nod to the most important character in the show: Baby. She was always there for the boys. I absolutely love it that Jensen Ackles got to keep her. Here's to that beautiful car, a 1967 Chevrolet Impala. Chuck says the Impala rolled off the assembly line in Janesville, Wisconsin, on April 24, 1967, and would turn out to be the most important car – no, the most important object – in pretty much the whole universe.
Baby was the real Winchester home. Baby was Dean's safe place, his avatar when he was gone.
"Always keep fighting."
Besides being entertaining, the show was a crutch during some of my most difficult times, and acted as a sidekick when I needed one.
The season 5 finale, Swan Song on May 13, 2010, really stuck with me. It was the final battle between Michael and Lucifer, and Sam ended up in the pit. This episode also brought us Castiel's glorious, "Hey, Assbutt!"
No one ever really dies on Supernatural (except when they really do), so at the end, Sam was there under the flickering lamplight, staring at the house of Dean and Lisa. Ominous, but still sad.
This finale affected me deeply because of the story arc of the sacrifice, the love from blood family and chosen family...of dying alone. Hoo. Powerful. My sister died June 10, 2010, a month after this episode. She died alone, thousands of miles away. I couldn't be with her but a kind nurse held the phone to her ear while I said goodbye as they shut off her life support.
The season 6 premiere, Exile on Main Street was on September 24, 2010. Sam was back from the dead, trying to pull Dean into hunting again. I was still dealing with Sunni's death (she did not come back, by the way), and unfortunately my mom was now entering her own descent into the darkness.
I have a love/hate relationship with Season 7. The show delivered humor and heartbreak in the 23 episodes with the big bad yet entirely lame Leviathans, a wonky Lucifer, the redemption of Meg, Charlie, super fan Becky, and the death of Bobby singer. Bobby Singer will always be one of my most favorite characters on the show, and when he died, the first time (wink) I was devastated.
I was at hospice with my mom starting on November 8, 2011. She passed away in my arms on November 11, 2011. The Supernatural episode that night was Season Seven - Time for a Wedding. It was one of the few episodes I didn't watch within 12 hours of its airing. I watched this on DVR after a few days of dealing with my mom's dying in hospice. In life our relationship was complicated and I didn't cry when she died. I had too much to do and no time to grieve. I felt like a monster, but as the days passed the need to cry faded.
December 2, 2011, was my Mom's birthday and also the airdate for Death’s Door, the episode where Bobby Singer died.
I sobbed. I ugly cried. I felt like even more of a monster and hypocrite because there I was...weeping for a fictional character, although a beloved and cherished character to me, but I had yet to shed one tear for my own mother.
I realized that Bobby's death had finally allowed me to feel loss, to grieve, to start to heal.
Season 8's Finale, SACRIFICE aired on May 15, 2013. The season revolved around the trials to close the gates of hell, the need to turn Crowley human to achieve it, and the toll it took on the Winchesters. It was always about sacrifice. Metatron cast the angels out of heaven by stealing Castiel's grace. Sam would die if he completed the trials and Dean begged him to stop. "Don't you dare think that there is anything, past or present, that I would put in front of you!"
Family. Powerful stuff.
My best friend, my chosen brother was coming home to me to get his life together on June 19th. A new start. He'd gone through his own trials and come out stronger on the other side. Almost. His heart was just too full and it cracked open. Jason died on May 31, 2013.
That was a long, painful summer. The premiere of season 9, I Think I'm Gonna Like it Here on October 8, 2013, both hurt my heart and helped me. Sam was dying after the trials. I was still coping with Jason's untimely passing, internalizing all of the death over the last two years. Their fictional loss resonated with my own too real losses.
Between 2013 and 2018, seasons 9 - 14, family and friends stopped dying, but some close friendships, friends that I had considered family, well those relationships withered away and outright died. There was so much turmoil for the family. I also survived a psychotic neighbor, house vandalisms and a fire-bombing of my house, a health decline from rampant autoimmune disease, emotional and depressive trauma in my kids' worlds, and the election of a fascist demagogue as President of the United States.
The one constant comfort was Supernatural.
Was every episode perfect? No. Was every episode great? Again, no but I loved it anyway.
I think the fans who started watching during season 5 or even later missed out on the nuances and easter eggs from the beginning that were peppered through the later seasons. Watchers who complained that the show had jumped the shark missed the fact that there was still so much ocean left to explore.
I kept watching.
Hopped up on dilaudid and oxycontin from a splenic infarct on Mother's day, I insisted on watching the season 13 finale, Let the Good Times Roll on May 17, 2018, from my hospital bed. I still have no idea how I got my laptop to work and access my DVR, but I definitely viewed the episode as the other dimension Archangel Michael possessed Dean.
I admit that I re-watched it a number of times in the following days, but I didn't truly follow the story thread until I was home ten days later and not fogged with opiates.
Covid-19 delayed the finale of Supernatural. Originally it was to end in May of 2020. Coupled with the quarantine lockdown starting in March, I think that would have broken me. Having this extra six months to revisit my favorite episodes, to make peace with the end, it was still hard but I was almost ready.
Last night's finale was perfect. The fans that hated this finale were most likely not there from the beginning.
It ended how it started. Two brothers fighting the monster of the week, just the Winchesters against the world, road tripping their way through dysfunctional family and things that go bump in the night.
"Saving people, hunting things...the family business."
After the battle against God and the subsequent reset, the Winchester brothers were no longer fate's puppets, they were instead the champions on Team Free Will. They were no longer super heroes. I mean they were super and still heroes, but in the end just mortal men with no side deals, reprieves, or forced destiny. Dean got his peace when he was done, and Sam got his happy normal life.
I'm crying again.
I said it before, 15 years is a long time to love a show. I left out favorite characters and episodes in favor of brevity for this piece. I could have gone down the rabbit hole, trust me, and maybe I will someday. For now this is my thank you to the creators, the writers, the crew, and the actors who made Supernatural -- the characters and episodes, for me a distraction, a therapist, a crutch, beloved family members, and a source for joyous entertainment. Supernatural made me laugh, made me cry, made me think and look inward.
My eldest born two months before the pilot? He's 15 now. He watched the finale with me last night, sneaking glances at the tears streaking down my cheeks. He grew up with the Winchester brothers. He's as smart and kind as Sammy, and as brave and empathetic as Dean. He's a member of Team Free Will.
My youngest? Oh my. She's a mix of Rowena and Crowley...the best parts of course.
The Road So Far?
Season 16 is my life adventure now.
I will close with Chuck's narration over the ending in Swan Song (Season 5 finale):
So, what's it all add up to? It's hard to say. But me, I'd say this was a test... for Sam and Dean. And I think they did all right. Up against good, evil, angels, devils, destiny, and God himself, they made their own choice. They chose family. And, well... isn't that kinda the whole point?
No doubt – endings are hard. But then again... nothing ever really ends, does it?
Risin' up, back on the street
Did my time, took my chances
Went the distance, now I'm back on my feet
Just a man and his will to survive